November 24, 2011
|Dirk Knudsen; Washingtonpreps.com|
Today before you feast and enjoy the family and friends your with I want you to do me a favor. Before you watch your favorite team go to war I want you to do something you may have never ever done but I promise it won’t hurt. I want you to say a little pray for the fallen.
The young boys who have given their lives in pursuit of a game that we Americans just can not get enough of. And I want you to say a prayer for the guys your watching out on that field. Because some of them are killing themselves right now so you can enjoy your day.
Many of the players you watch have had or will have both short and long term disability from the game they are playing. Some of them will die of complications from CTE which is a newly confirmed brain disease caused by the game of football. Now please enjoy the game.
The boys would not have it any other way. But if you see a helmet to helmet blow or a kid go down and not get up or even just a vicious hit I want you to pray for their safety and not get up and do that dance that we have all done in that situation.
Today on Thanksgiving Day I want you to remember and honor these young men who lay it all on the line as modern day Gladiators for us. We, the rabble, who no longer all go to the Coliseum but rather huddle around a plastic box and celebrate their every move.
Today we honor The Fallen. The High school boys who we remember and work to support through our Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussion Prevention group BrainChampions.org.
Here are just a few of the fallen we ask you to remember and we ask that you pray for them and their family and friends who are without them today.
Ridge Barden; 16-year-old lineman from John C. Birdlebough High School in Phoenix, New York
Ridge went down in a game from a blow to the head on October 14th, 2011 and died shortly thereafter. He leaves behind his family and friends and even though his helmet was reconditioned he passed away after taking the blow. He will always be remembered as a powerhouse linemen and a gentle giant. Rest in Peace Big Guy.
Nathan Stiles, a Kansas high school star senior running back, linebacker and homecoming king. Oct 29, 2010
Nathan died after he was taken to the hospital for an injury sustained during a game in Osawatomie, Kansas. Stiles reportedly intercepted a pass, walked to the sidelines and collapsed shortly after the play, according to NBC Action News. He was pronounced dead on Friday, at approximately 4 a.m., hours after arriving at University of Kansas hospital in Kansas City by helicopter. He was a 4.0 student at Spring Hill High School. His family through their Church have established The Nathan Project and are doing great work on behalf of their son.
Andrew “Drew” Swank; Valley Christian High School Spokane, Washington
On September 25th, 2009 while on a road game Drew took several blows trying to help his team. One would prove fatal and caused his already bleeding brain to flow out of control. This second impact killed him. Drew leaves behind an amazing family and community and left us way to soon. His family are amongst our founders at BrainChampions.org and he is the #15 of our Team 7:15 Concussion Prevention Game plan.
Quadaar White, August 30th, 2010, Philadelphia, Pa
No one could ever keep up with Quadaar White – not on the football field, not in life. Between the hash marks, the 15-year-old was known by teammates on Upper Darby’s Greater 69th Street Wildcats as “Little Sanders,” a lightning quick running back who reminded everyone of former NFL great Barry Sanders. Quadaar died of head and neck trauma that he suffered from a tackle he made during a routine practice. He will be remembered by his family and friends forever and ever.
Matthew Gfeller, Winston-Salem Reynolds.
On August 22, 2008 Matthew suffered a severe helmet to helmet collision during his first varsity football game. It was in the fourth quarter of the game when he was playing right inside linebacker. Tragically, the accident caused a fatal traumatic brain injury. Matthew never regained consciousness and died two days later on Sunday, August 24, 2008. His family has founded the Matthew Gfeller Foundation which is doing great work in this area.
Dylan Steiger, Missoula, Montana; EOU
Dylan was preparing to play football at Eastern Oregon University and had recently transfered from University of Montana. He took a blow to the head in practice Saturday May 8th, 2010. He was transported to Grand Ronde Hospital and later flown to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise, school officials said. Doctors said he suffered an acute subdural hematoma as a result of the head injury. The injury led to his death on Sunday May 9th. He left behind his fiance Liz Apostol and their baby daughter London. His mother Cyndi and Father Tom have set up a concussion management program in Missoula. He will always be remembered.
Jaquan Walker, 9-24-2008; Greenville-Rose High
The Junior Running Back for the Greeville Rose High School team was playing hurt in September of 2008. He went down in the game never to get up. Another confirmed victim of Second Impact Syndrome. In a statement, Dr. M.G.F. Gilliland said Jaquan Waller died because of a “very rare condition which can occur when two relatively minor head injuries occur in a short time interval. It usually occurs in young athletes and is very rapidly fatal.” RIP Jaquan!
DeShawn Smith, Renton, Washington; 2004
One Saturday night in 2004, during a typically raucous season-opening football game at Foster High School, DeShawn Smith, a sophomore running back at Tyee High, gathered a pass, turned upfield, and was hit helmet-to-helmet by an opposing player. He staggered to his feet, walked to the sideline, sat down and collapsed. He died three days later of acute subdural hematoma, or blood that accumulated between the brain and its outer lining, caused by a ruptured blood vessel. RIP DeShawn Smith
Jake Snakenberg, 9-18-2004
The day was Sept. 18, 2004, a Saturday. Jake Snakenberg, a freshman football player at Grandview, had been injured in a game the week before but assured his mom he was ready to play that day. Like in so many cases before he was not ready and there is no way anyone could have known for sure. He went down in the game and would never get up. A wonderful young 14 year old boy lost his life that day. His mother and family work hard now to make sure that does not happen again.
Now there are many many more kids injured in the game and living with the terrible effetcs f those injuries then those who have passed on. And we are constantly working to help those kids get back to a normal life and to have a chance to get better and try and improve. Among them are Matthew Newman of Yakima, Washington, Kort Breckenridge of Driggs, Idaho, andMax Conradt of Salem, Oregon. Right now you can help one young guy who is trying so hard to recover in his Brain Injury Rehab home in Idaho. That would be young Bobby Clark.
Bobby is nothing short of a miracle. He went down in October with a Traumatic Brain Injury and went through a radical surgery called a craniectomy to save his life. That skull removal is something most of the kids mentioned above had done and it is very very hard to return from. But Bobby is making it. And his family have been on 24 hour watch as have his thousands of followers. Take the time to drop into his caring brige website and leave your well wishes for he and his family. Visit Bobby and Leave Wishes or a Prayer on his Caring Bridge Website: Click Here
Now that you have read all of this please realize this is only the tip of a growing iceberg. If we did not love the game so much we would not be working on this. Because if we don’t fix this broken game we will lose it. It is simple as that.
Once the lawyers move in, and they have, it is a new ball game. Schools and Coaches are in the gun sights and in many cases they are going to be found negligent. Can we get it perfect? No. Can we fix 90% of the problems?
For sure we can.
If your ready to help just reach out to us at BrainChampions.org You can also help us by giving to our new Build The Bus Project right here. This rolling Educational Vehicle will make stops at gyms and fields in towns all over the Pacific Northwest. Please do what you can to help and get involved. Now back to your feast and your game! That is exactly what we will all be doing too!